We’re going to answer the question, “Why gratitude?” four different ways.
This has been a question I’ve asked myself many times over the past 12 years because I’ve always known it would be easier to have a business that focused on helping people succeed at sales, time management, or having stronger marriages. At least it would have been easier for other people to understand my business. As I look back, countless people asked the same question over and over again wondering how an engineer ends up teaching gratitude, which is explained in this post.
The journey from engineering to gratitude explains what got me started on gratitude, but what it doesn’t explain is why I continue to promote a grateful way of life.
So why gratitude?
The reason behind my work was not something I ever doubted, but it wasn’t until recently that I could clarify it with such precision. This clarity was inspired a couple weeks ago in Toronto by two of the most influential minds on the planet today, Peter Diamandis and Lance Secretan.
Peter inspired me to think big. He encourages you to find a problem and help a billion people solve it.
Lance inspired me to claim a movement. He helped me see how gratitude is an innate human quality that truly has the power to transform lives so why not put a stake in the ground.
Again, why gratitude?
My dream is simple: To inspire 1 billion happier people. That’s why gratitude. Pragmatically, gratitude is the best predictor to leading a thriving life—this is a life characterized by happiness. Not the hedonistic feeling the ebbs and flows based on your circumstances. No. We’re talking about the stable happiness that comes from deep-rooted joy pervasive throughout your life. So if you want to be a thriving ____________ (you fill in the blank—mother, father, supervisor, sister, wife, coach, partner), build a grateful frame of mind.
You may be wondering how I’m going to do this, how I’ll inspire 1 billion happier people. Join the club as I’m wondering the same thing. I know what I’m going to do this week and this month, but I don’t have it all figured out yet. So if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear from you.
So why gratitude now?
The markers for human success are promising. In his book Abundance, Peter Diamandis gives extensive evidence that will give you great hope as he outlines solutions to serious problems that face humanity—poverty, climate change, healthcare, life expectancy, and the sustainability of our species on the planet. We have never been freer, more educated, more connected, and wealthier and yet in the western world, according to the World Happiness Report, happiness has remained virtually unchanged for the past 50 years. Worse, social scientists in the same report identify three epidemics (obesity, opioid crisis, and depression) they believe will erode overall happiness.
In the workplace, Gallop continues to report that 70% of the global workforce is not emotionally committed to their work. Decades have passed and billions of dollars have been poured into making the workplace a spot where people can thrive and based on Gallop’s research, it’s been a complete failure.
Here’s a glimpse into a slice of the 21st century survival mindset. On any given day thousands of people travel from one side of North America to the other. Thousands. And what happens when there is a delay or cancellation because of weather or mechanical issues? For some travellers, these modern day inconveniences get transformed into horrific injustices. We quickly forget that travelling across the continent used to take weeks or months and there was no guarantee you’d make it. Before writing off this example as complete nonsense, you may have a comparable first-hand experience.
Can you imagine a morning drive to work when unexpectedly traffic comes to an abrupt snail-like crawl? As you inch along you are consumed by how this is going to make you late for a very important meeting. You think, “Why wouldn’t they wait to begin road construction until after rush hour? Have they no common sense?” 40 minutes later and only a few miles further you can hardly contain the rage. Then in the distance you see the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles. This tempers your anger but as the next 20 minutes pass, your frustration builds because, “There has to be a quicker more efficient way to clear the road so traffic can return to normal.” As you pass the accident scene, it looks worse than you had imagined. It’s only later you realize how wrong you were to be so self-focused when you learn the sobering news that the accident claimed the life of a mother and young child and left the father and other young child seriously injured.
Whether it’s a delayed flight, unexpected traffic, a cold meal at a restaurant, or poor wi-fi; these negative events will rob you of the joy of living a thriving life, if you allow it.
How can this be? In the midst of our collective prosperity, this is unacceptable. As a species we have laboured to build societies in which everyone can thrive, and it is failing because far too many people remain stuck struggling feeling they do not have enough.
No doubt, the unrelenting force is a culprit in the downfall of happiness but fortunately we we have the antidote—gratitude. I’m not so naive to think that gratitude alone will resolve global happiness but the growing body of research is telling us that gratitude transforms surviving into thriving and is the key to happiness. I believe gratitude has the potential to solve some of the world’s biggest problems and my dream is to help 1 billion people find more happiness.
Special Announcement [Fall 2018]
Join me on the journey to the launch of my new book this fall. It’s called “Surviving to Thriving: The 10 Laws of Grateful Leadership” This book is the ultimate guide on gratitude and its importance for spending more time thriving and less time surviving. Through reading the book, you’ll deeply understand how to implement gratitude in all aspects of your life.
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